Favorite Albums 2009
I have been debating on whether or not to post a ‘top’ albums for 2009 list, mostly due to the fact that I might indulge in posting a top albums of the decade which would require a good bit of time.
Over the past decade I have listened to 90% of the music I have ever listened to in my life. My musical pallet has sampled many a sound in that time.
This year I have also sampled a good amount of new music, some from bands I already enjoy and some from new bands that I have come to enjoy. Unfortunately some of the music I have come to love this year, was not necessarily released this year so I might just have to make that Albums of the Decade post after all.
Normally I would throw in some “key” songs for album reviews, but all of these albums are all good all the way through, so if you are going to give them a try, just go all the way. Go big or go home…
My top 5 picks are the albums that I listened to the most when I first heard them. They inspired me and played with my emotions more than the rest.
In no particular order:
Fall of Troy – Phantom on the Horizon
I’ve been a fan of Fall of Troy for a while now. They write passionate, high energy music that makes my ears happy. While I was not super stoked about their last full release Manipulator, I did enjoy it.
Something was missing from it though. It seemed like the technical skill of the band had progressed where I had hoped it would by then, but the direction of the song writing did not necessarily do the same.
Insert Phantom on the Horizon. A rerecorded and finished version of the Ghostship EP which the band released in 2004. I had never heard anything from that EP but immediately snatched up the Phantom on the Horizon as soon as I could.
The album showcases the band in a more experimental way that I was hoping for after Doppelganger. I realize much of this music is older, they reinvented it in a way that feels more like progress.
As long as Fall of Troy continue making music that makes them happy, I am confident they will make music that makes me happy.
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Xenophanes
Since the release of Deloused I have been ready and awaiting anything Omar Rodriguez comes out with. His last few released efforts have not been as exciting and re playable for me as earlier work, but that all changed with Xenophanes.
From the very first song there is a change of pace that hasn’t been there on the last couple releases. The music is tight but still carries that signature Omar weirdness. I know we were all curious about how Omar’s vocals would be sounding on this album, and I have to say, they are much improved and sound especially good complimenting the female vocals.
As a whole this album feels more cohesive than some of the stuff he has been putting out, keeping a strong vibe from start to finish, instead of feeling like a bunch of random songs thrown together.
This is the Omar Rodriguez we all know and love.
Dirty Dishes – In The Clouds
I would like to preface this particular section with the fact that my good friend Keith Freund told me about Dirty Dishes. Keith recorded one of the 13 Day Mission album, as well played a hand as producer and engineer for the Dirty Dishes.
All bias aside…this EP is great. Having found this EP any other way, I am positive that I would still be as hyped about it as I am.
First off, they sound great. Sonically this album is everything you would hope for from a modern recording.
To boot, the song writing is very tasty. The guitar riffs are a little spacey, a little mathy, and very fun for my brain. As well the drums are holding down some unfamiliar beats that are refreshing to hear. Lets not forget the vocals that sound great without auto tune, but add in some heavy reverb for some additional ambient spaciness.
You can hear this album in its entirety at http://thedirtydishes.bandcamp.com/
Mastodon – Crack the Skye
I have been a fan of Mastodon for a couple of years now. I have even had the opportunity to play a show with one of Brent Hinds other bands around Atlanta.
Leviathan was my first taste of Mastodon. That is a really good album but it wasn’t something that I necessarily felt attached to.
The same happened with Blood Mountain, although this was definitely a lead in the right direction. It still did not captivate me.
Crack the Skye is both of those albums combined, plus the additional growth one would hope for in a band. For several weeks I listened to this album over and over picking it apart slowly until I was satisfied. This bonding was what I had been waiting on from Mastodon and I look forward to their future efforts.
Closure In Moscow – First Temple
Closure is Moscow is an Australian band that a friend of mine recently gave me the heads up on. They are apparently recording at the same studio that this album was recorded at. All I can say about that is I hope the same person is mixing and mastering because this album sounds GOOD.
These guys are a great mix of a lot of different things that I enjoy about music.
Technicality, I strive to increase my skill level with instruments all the time, and I appreciate hearing others that obviously do as well.The guitarist, bass included, have some awesome riffs and some unique tones. The drums easily keep up with and compliment the guitars, and finally a vocalist that can actually sing. This guy hits some crazy notes but writes really good melodies using his voice more like an instrument.
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